Watermelon Basil Water

A hot summer day calls for something refreshing, like spa water. You can really customize it anyway you want, adding more or less of each ingredient.  To get best infused flavor, let sit overnight or at least for 4 hours.

  • 1 gallon of filtered water
  • 3 cups of cubed watermelon
  • 8-10 basil leaves

How to:

Start by cutting watermelon into cubes. Then pull basil leaves off stems.  Then, fill up any glass jar with filtered water. Add watermelon and basil to pitcher and let soak for 4 hours. Serve!



Caprese Sandwich with Avocado

We are almost ready to give up our hearty stews and soups as Winter is leaving us until next year. For lighter fare, I turn to this sandwich, which makes for the perfect transition into Spring. Its great alone, as the sourdough speaks for itself. Or a great companion to that soup we were talking about relinquishing. Or maybe not just yet 😉


Yields: 1 big sandwich

What you’ll need:

  • 2 big slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 3 fresh mozzarella cheese slices (I used 3 oz)
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • drizzle of Italian olive oil
  • Optional: pinch of salt for your tomatoes

How to:

Start by slicing your sourdough bread with a serrated knife. Believe it or not, the order in which the filling is placed on the sandwich makes a difference on how well your sandwich stays together. I place the tomatoes on the bottom, that way they create the most stable “base”. Next, layer mozzarella, avocado, then basil. Drizzle with olive oil and top with the other piece of sourdough. Presto!



Mimi’s garden salsa

A trip to the North Carolina mountains is a unexpected adventure every time. Besides breath-taking mountain views and conversations with kind-hearted locals, there is always fab food awaiting me each time. Whether a local brew at a new downtown hot-spot, a cheesy slice of pizza on-the-go, or vine-ripened veggies at the Farmer’s market, its an incredible culinary experience every time. This time I was impressed with a Hendersonville local, Mary Small, who shared her trusted salsa recipe with me. Using her garden grown tomatoes and banana peppers she whips up a salsa which pleases the whole crowd: her husband, 4 kids and 6 grandkids! Savor the end-of-summer with this healthy goodness!


Yields: 5-6 servings

What you’ll need:

  • 5 garden tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-5 small banana peppers, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped AND a couple seeds
  • 1/2-1 lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • garlic salt, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

How to:

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir with a large spoon. Taste test to adjust salt, pepper and/or lime. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in glass jar and use within a couple days. Salsa can freeze well too! Enjoy!

Spotlight on recipe author: Mary Small

Mary, nick-named “Mimi”, grew up on her family farm in Hendersonville, NC. As a small girl she quickly learned that hard work translated into good food. Her major farm tasks included gathering eggs and pulling weeds in the garden. Always inspired by the beauty and benefits of a garden, she now continues to care for her own flower and vegetable garden. As recently retired school teacher (37 years!) Mary is able to dedicate her time to her garden, friends, family and her two pugs.

Peanut butter banana popsicles

These popsicles are unlike any that you have ever eaten. This recipes excludes any liquids, making for a smooth texture with a decadent crunch from the chocolate chips. My mom loves semi-sweet chocolate chips and swears that it is the only cure for her chocolate cravings. Great for an summer afternoon pick-me-up or for curing your sweet fix!


Yields: 4 pops

Time needed: Prep: 5 min; In freezer: 4 hrs +

What you’ll need:

  • 3 ripened bananas
  • 1/4 cup of natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Special equipment:

  1. food processor
  2. popsicle mold

How to:

Begin by placing bananas and peanut butter in food processor. Pulse until well mixed. Once it is mixed, add in the chocolate chips. Pulse for only 7-8 pulses. I like to add the chocolate chips at the end and carefully pulse them so they vary in size and you get a surprise- sized bite every time.  Now, fill the molds. You can even put a funnel over each mold so it goes in nice and neatly. That’s up to you. I’m not much of a perfectionist, I don’t use one, so mine ends up dripping! Freeze for four hours, or overnight.


For a great variation, substitute peanut butter for cashew butter!!